Posts Tagged ‘DEFAC’

Markell: no layoffs to trim budget

May 13, 2009

Jack Markell

Jack Markell

Cape Gazette reporter Kevin Spence and I interviewed Gov. Jack Markell for about half an hour Monday morning at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover. The impromptu interview, wedged by the governor and communications director Joe Rogalsky into a busy schedule, reinforces campaign commitments to accessibility and open government.

Facing an unprecedented budget deficit of an estimated $780 million, Markell nonetheless appeared rested and confident. He said he is making no plans to use layoffs of state employees to trim Delaware’s expenses and reiterated his budget package of cuts, and tax and fee increases, to address the shortfall dilemma.

Markell said he doesn’t see any of the budget votes ahead as fights: “We have to balance the budget. We have no choice. If we don’t pass a balanced budget then the government will be forced to shut down. We can’t write checks on July 1 if we don’t have a balanced budget by the end of June. If the General Assembly restores any of the cuts that I have proposed, or rejects any of the tax or fee increases I have proposed, they have to come up with cuts or increases in other areas.”

Markell said his administration also reviewed the possibility of an early retirement option to trim the state’s payroll. “It just would have cost too much money,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

The governor said he doesn’t expect much good news when Delaware’s Economic and Financial Advisory Committee (DEFAC) meets soon for its final prediction of revenues available for state operations in fiscal year 2010. “The forecast could very easily worsen,” he said. “We could be looking at the shortfall growing beyond the $780 million figure we’re using now.” He said while he appreciates $155 million in federal stimulus money to help close this year’s gap, that’s only good for one year.